Breastfeeding awareness week… 1.

This is breastfeeding awareness week and so I thought I would write a post related to breastfeeding each day.

To all mothers who wanted to but couldn’t; to all mothers who didn’t but wish they did. To those who started but faced lots of challenges, to those who had it smooth sailing. To all the mothers who held a wee-one to their bosom for a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year and more happy breastfeeding awareness week.

During infancy and early childhood the value of adequate nutrition to ensure the growth, health, and development of children to their full potential cannot be overemphasised. If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800 000 child lives would be saved every year. (WHO, 2015)

Definitions related to breastfeeding:

According to WHO, breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. (WHO, 2015) Whilst I agree with the above definition I think the word natural should have been used in this context in place of normal as other alternatives to breastfeeding are generally artificial not abnormal.

  • A child is said to be breastfeed if it has received breast milk direct from the breast or expressed.
  • An exclusively breastfed infant is one who has received only breast milk from its’ mother or a wet nurse including expressed breast milk, with no other liquids or solids except for drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, mineral supplements, or medicines.

  • Infants who are predominantly breastfeed have breast milk as the major source of nourishment. However, the infant may also have received water and water-based drinks. With the exception of fruit juice and sugar water, no food-based fluid is allowed under this definition.

  • Complementary feeding: The child has received both breast milk and solid or semi-solid food. (Labbok, 2008 – 2014)

Can every woman breastfeed?

Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. (WHO, 2015). Under certain conditions a mother’s ability to breastfeed might be difficult or impossible for example primary lactation failure, this is when a mother does not make an adequate amount of milk for her baby, even when every other aspect is in order (including, but not limited to: latch and positioning, breastfeeding frequency and exclusivity, mother and baby are kept together, baby’s oral anatomy is fine – no tongue tie, cleft palate). A variety of reasons might lead to primary lactation failure: hormonal complications, severance of vital nerve and duct systems during thoracic or breast surgery and failure of the mammary tissue to develop during adolescence. (KellyMom, 1996–2014).

Managing lactation failure:

There are three categories of lactation failure: pre-glandular, glandular, and post-glandular (Morton, 1994).  Hormonal issues such as a retained placenta or postpartum thyroiditis are often directly responsible for pre-glandular low or no milk production.  Post-glandular causes refer to things that happen after birth which get breastfeeding off to a “bad start,” like a baby who cannot properly transfer milk at the breast (for whatever reason), or poor breastfeeding management, such as scheduled feeds, extended separation of mother and baby.  Glandular causes of little or no milk production might include previous breast surgery, or hypoplasia/IGT.  Often, glandular lactation failure is accompanied by one or more pre-glandular and post-glandular factors. (KellyMom, 1996–2014).

In order to properly manage lactation related challenges it is very important to find the root cause of the problem and offer appropriate treatment and most importantly empathetic support. Instantly passing a judgement on the mothers’ effort or offering advice without first listening to her challenges often makes offering effective support difficult. Every mother should seek support and adequate information from lactation consultants, peer supporters when any problem occurs. Antenatal support and information is very good as it helps prepare you ahead of time.

Works Cited

KellyMom. (1996–2014). Retrieved June 22, 2015, from

Labbok, M. (2008 – 2014). Retrieved June 21, 2015, from La Leche League International

WHO. (2015). Breastfeeding. Retrieved June 21, 2015, from

WHO. (2015). Retrieved June 21, 2015, from


8 thoughts on “Breastfeeding awareness week… 1.

  1. Having breast fed all my six children, I fully support the idea of a Breastfeeding Awareness Week. Breastfeeding has been ‘in and out’ of fashion over the years, and I’m happy to see it has come back into favour recently. Your post outlines all the benefits – which mothers often overlook because they either don’t like the idea of breastfeeding, or think the baby will do better ‘on a bottle’.Sometimes, if mothers go back to work very early after giving birth, they see a bottle as the only thing to leave for the childminder. But breast milk can be expressed, of course. My mother-in-law found the idea of breastfeeding distasteful! (This was back in the 1970s.) I’m glad I just ignored her. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely right about the colostrum. I almost gave up with my first because i got very sore, but I lasted a few months in the end. My third baby was well past nine months and still having an evening feed – or if he woke in the night! It was hard to break the habit with him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tried hard. I never wanted to bottle-feed, but it’s all down to personal choice, when all’s said and done. I feel that ‘breast is best’, but for women who can’t or don’t want to breast feed, babies can still thrive on a bottle. So those women should never feel like failures, either. It’s also about loving cuddles while feeding and so on.

        Liked by 1 person

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